NASA to Get Administration's Spending Request for 2010

9 December 2009 1:28 pm

NASA has received the full $18.7 billion requested by the White House, including $4.5 billion for science. But House of Representatives and Senate conferees, releasing a report yesterday on 2010 appropriations for several agencies, complained about “a pattern of lax fiscal management” at the U.S. civil space agency and fretted about the future of the follow-on rocket to the space shuttle. They also granted the Obama Administration the $3.8 billion it sought for the new Constellation launcher pending a decision by the White House on whether to continue work on that option or shift to an alternative.Within the agency's science budget, lawmakers provided $25 million to begin work on a replacement to the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, which landed in the ocean earlier this year. They set aside $15 million to start work on a robotic mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. And they even requested NASA to detail what it would cost to advance the mission from its planned 2020 launch to 2018.

Appropriators are worried, however, about the James Webb Space Telescope, which is slated for a 2014 launch. Although they granted the full $441 million for 2010 requested by the Administration, they noted that there have been $95 million in cost overruns in the past 6 months alone. They also asked for a detailed explanation of the project’s troubles.

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